Suddenly the ideas that Obama has been espousing, ideas that John McCain has been criticizing as defeatist and naive, are being adopted on the international stage. Could it be that Obama is onto something with his focus on diplomacy and gradual withdrawal from Iraq?
According to The New York Times (July 20, 2008), "...Mr. Obama received support from an unexpected corner: Iraq's prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, told a German magazine that he endorsed the Obama plan to withdraw most American troops to a gradual timeline of 16 months... In an article with Der Spiegel Magazine in Germany that was issued on Saturday, Mr. Maliki said that he was not endorsing Mr. Obama's candidacy, but called his proposal 'the right timetable for a withdrawal.' "
The McCain campaign's response was anything but "straight talk": "John McCain believes withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground," said McCain senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann–as if Obama is against talking to military advisers. "Prime Minister Maliki has repeatedly affirmed the same view, and did so again today. Timing is not as important as whether we leave with victory and honor."
Clearly Maliki did not affirm the views of McCain–and the use of the buzz words "victory and honor" indicate that the McCain campaign is stretching to put a positive spin on what is an awkward endorsement of Obama's plan. As it is, withdrawing from a conflict that never should have started by adopting a timetable agreed to by the president of Iraq is far from dishonorable.